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Thursday, June 18. 2015
I'll confess that I do not greatly enjoy wedding events, and this season has been, and will be, heavy with these weekend social duties. Of course, I am always pleased when people find life partners, though.
In youth, attending friends' weddings was great fun. Drinking, smoking pot behind the church, getting dressed up, guys meeting new gals and vice versa, making out on the club porch with a new person after too many champagnes. Many youth meet their future mates at weddings, for good reason: they have been socio-culturally vetted.
I also understand that parents like to throw lavish weddings to entertain their friends, families, and business associates. An excuse to check that box. But only the youth really enjoy these things because it's new to them. As an adult, I do not really enjoy attending (although I feel hurt if not invited). They interfere with your whole day and go on too long.
An inconvenience, in fact, but showing up is an obligation to people you care about. It's important to them that you show up. A brief ceremony with sandwiches and drinks after would be fine with me, same as a funeral. Two hours, max, go through the receiving line, leave your gift on the pile, and then get to your tennis game. I've been to enough weddings (and enough funerals too). Throwing a wedding need not be a major imposition on your guests' lives.
- People do not realize that your wedding is not the only one they are obligated to go to this year. For them, it seems like a Big Deal.
- You get seated with people you have to make small talk with. Dull, usually. You keep wondering "Can we leave yet?"
- You have to pretend to have 'fun," and to be grateful for the abundant food, drink, loud music, and the opportunity to dance like a teenager. I do not need any of those things but the youngsters might.
- Old Yankee Rules: Excess and display are tacky. Old Puritan Rules: weddings are not religious matters. Marriage is not a Protestant sacrament but is a solemn, witnessed vow, and a secular contract.
- 67% of American marriages end in grisly divorce
- Weddings without children attending are just no darn good.
- Weddings are an industry today. $10,000 for flowers? For one afternoon?
I don't mean to sound like a curmudgeon (or do I?). Marriage is an essential institution and God bless all who partake and whose vows are deadly serious.
My idea of a wedding event for my kids would be old-time, slightly post-Puritan New England. Bring a fiddler and an accordionist to the town green with a pig roast, with kids crying and running around. Don't even get me started on beach weddings, mountaintop weddings, black tie weddings, and golf destination weddings. But we have boys so I will be mercifully out of the loop.
The "Honored Mother of the Bride"? Gag me.
Here's a traditional New England wedding:
The percentage of pregnant brides is said to have been quite high amongst the puritan Congregationalists, maybe 50% or more.
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I just attended my nieces wedding (the first in a while) and not extravagant, it still followed the modern catered wedding format. My wife (of 30+ years) and I married in Vegas so we skipped the whole thing. I remember in my childhood, weddings were simple with the reception at the VFW. the Food was brought from home by family and friends. No band usually.
A lot to be said for the older ways
The percentage of pregnant brides among Puritan Congregationalists was among the lowest in recorded history. It rose some just before the Revolution. Source: David Hackett Fisher's Albion's Seed. The most extreme example he* discovered from town records was Middlesex County 1660-1669: zero births within nine months of the wedding - which is really the only proxy that is going to give you a good estimate.
*Or rather, his graduate students. I have heard that he was notorious for using them for his own research.
I do love a wedding since it is one of the few occasions I get to dance with my husband. Dancing is just a rare thing in our lives except when we just push the sofas out of the way and dance at home.
Totally agree about weddings with kids. It's important for everyone.
The best (and most fun!) wedding that I've ever been to ( or was a member of the wedding party) was a couple of friends just out of college, who had very little money. They didn't even go on a honeymoon because they wanted to save money for "important" stuff like a deposit on an apartment, etc.
The bride made the dress herself (I suspect that her mother and a few other women in her family helped a lot). He bought a new suit (one that he also planned on using for job interviews later). While those of us in the wedding party just wore our "Sunday's Best."
The Wedding was at her father's church - he was the minister. The "limo" was an old Cadillac driven by a family friend. The reception afterwards was in the church's parish hall with all the women of her family bringing potluck - some of the best food I ever had at any large gathering.
And, lastly, for entertainment - his cousin play the electric keyboard while we all danced to such silly things like the Charlie Brown theme song or chopsticks. He really didn't know many songs or have much talent - but, he more than made up for that with his enthusiasm.
Cheap, no booze, lots of home-cooked food, and fun, fun, and more fun filled with nothing but family and friends who wanted to be there.
All weddings should be like that.
Oh, and yes, 35 years later they are still married and very much in love.
First wife and I paid for ours. Her grandmother, parents, 3 brothers and sister were there. My parents and brother were there. A few friends and mostly coworkers came.
Second marriage, the same. My 2 adult kids were my groomsmen, and her two sons (older than mine) were her bridesmaids (though they REFUSED to wear dresses). Her family came, my brother came. and friends.
My wife and I got married in my parents' backyard by our friend, a judge. Probably pretty close to those old Puritan weddings. We've been married almost 31 years so it must have worked. The past couple of years I've been bugging my wife that I want to renew our vows in church, but so far she won't have it. "It's worked so far, why mess with it."
I hate being the center of attention and having people stare at me. So, of course, my wedding was small. And it was awesome and cheap! We picked a lovely backdrop (small town in the mountains with a chapel). Only had a bouquet (for me) and boutonniere (for the husband). Food was simple and 'buffet style.' My MIL made my wedding cake as her gift. I bought my dress for about $150 at a store in the mall. We maybe had 25 guests...all family with the exception of 1 friend. Spent about $1000. :-D
Just back from attending a "button-hole relative's" wedding. Brought baking, which turned up at odd events (and not always when had been told). Great time. Ukranian Catholic service, which was really different, particularly in the starter, church basement bit. Reception not the potluck variety, but - given a large number of family to be accommodated - was great. Danced with grandchild; spouse danced with different grandchild. All good.
That being said, think back to our wedding: at spouse's parish many miles from mine, and very small reception. Much charity on both sides of those not invited. Children: bigger weddings but still relatively modest, and enjoyed by all. At one, insisted old family friend be invited (had been at our wedding) and paired her with Mum at reception. They had the best reunion - sadly the last, as at their next meeting Mum was suffering from mini-strokes and wasn't really there.
Note to the bride and groom: if you family insists on inviting some elders, take note: our child not pleased to "waste" an invitation on old family friend, but did acknowledge after that was a good decision, given the pleasure it gave Granny.
67% of marriages end in divorce? Apparently you got that figure from divorcepad.com, which asserts that 67% of second marriages end in divorce. However, their own figures showing divorce by marrying age, which show the highest rate of divorce for couples marrying from age 20-24 and stands at less than 30%, would discredit that number, and certainly do not support that 2/3rds of marriages end in divorce. Any firm figure would be hard to come by since the x and y components are so fluid from year to year. For example, if in 2014, 2 million people were married, and one million were divorced, would you assume that the divorce rate was 50%? I hope not, since the total number of married couples in 2014 would far exceed 2 million. In any rate, that figure of 67% is certainly far higher than the actual rate of divorce, no matter what divorce.com says...